Traditional Moms Weekend may need change

By Chinmaya Sharma, Staff Writer

As the hype of spring break dies out, it’s time for the University’s very own Moms Weekend. With an influx of visitors coming to campus, it’s worthwhile to reflect on the significance of one of the University’s most cherished traditions.

Much like Dads Weekend, Moms Weekend is a time for families to visit campus and to spend time with their children. That’s great, but what’s the point of enacting the same idea under two different titles?

To distinguish the two family weekends, each would require its own unique identity. This meant tailoring the events toward specific members of the family: mom and dad. Now, just for a second, think about a stereotypical dad or mom.

Does he have a beer belly? Does he love the NFL? Is she in a kitchen cooking or doing dishes? Or maybe she’s sipping tea, sitting in a garden full of flowers?

Similar to existing stereotypes, the respective weekends feature several events that seem to reinforce aforementioned gender roles. Just take a look at the schedules.

Last November, the University celebrated Dads Weekend with many featured events, like the barbecue, sporting events and the King Dad contest. In contrast, the Moms Weekend schedule features events like a craft fair, play and flower show.

One could argue that Moms Weekend should have events similar to Dads Weekend. Well, what’s the difference between the two? The entire purpose of having two different traditions is to celebrate two distinct, essential pillars of our lives.

A few events like brunches and Mom/Dad Night outs are common, but they’re not the highlights. Consequently, since they’re common, they aren’t the point of contention. It’s the featured events that are charged with reinforcing gender roles. For instance, did someone just assume dads like barbecues and moms enjoy flower shows?

What if that’s what moms want? Having said that, I’d like to make another point about stereotypes. In its very essence, a stereotype is a broad generalization of an accepted fact. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, it’s just our brain’s way of organizing information.

If someone enjoys an event that stereotypes assume they’d like, it doesn’t mean they’ve given in. Similarly, having a stereotypical event at Moms Weekend doesn’t necessarily reinforce gender roles. Instead, it’s more like an attempt to play it safe.

Coming back to events, another argument that can be made is Moms Weekend should have a different set of events (even different from Dads Weekend). Although this may be a fair suggestion, some events are deeply rooted. The lllini Mom’s Association plans Moms Weekend and attempts to keep the interests of women in mind.

Certainly, not everyone enjoys a particular event or precisely fits a stereotype either. Finding an event that caters to everyone is an impossible task. Besides, if everyone fit perfectly into a stereotype, it wouldn’t be a stereotype, but instead a universal truth.

Chinmaya is a freshman in Engineering.

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